KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 22 – A 17-year-old Canadian boy has been diagnosed with a vaping-related lung injury similar to “popcorn lung”.
He may be the first to showcase such damage linked to vaping, different from what has been diagnosed in thousands of patients in the US and elsewhere.
“This patient had severe, acute bronchiolitis, possibly related to inhalational injury from vaping, with several features suggestive of subsequent early bronchiolitis obliterans [‘popcorn lung’],” his doctors said in a journal, according to the BBC.
The teenager, previously healthy, developed a persistent cough and fever after vaping, daily for five months.
He used flavoured cartridges and regularly added THC – the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis – to his vaping fluid.
As his condition worsened, he was admitted to intensive care.
He spent 47 days in hospital and narrowly avoided needing a double lung transplant, though there may be severe long-lasting lung damage, his doctors say.
His doctors began suspecting flavoured e-liquids were the reason behind his illness.
Health Canada, the federal health agency, said that the patient’s symptoms correlate with the definition of vaping-associated lung illness.
“Rapid recognition of vaping associates lung illness by health care providers is critical to reduce severe outcomes,” said spokesperson Eric Morrissette.
“If you do not vape, do not start. Non-smokers, people who are pregnant, and youth should not vape.”
“Popcorn lung” is a rare form of irreversible obstructive lung disease that wounds the smallest airways in the lung – the bronchioles – and makes it difficult for air to flow.
The condition was previously found in workers exposed to the chemical flavouring diacetyl while packaging microwave popcorn.
Research has found many e-liquid vaping flavours tested contain some level of diacetyl.
In the US, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recorded a total of 2,290 cases of lung complications attributed to e-cigarettes as of yesterday.
The latest numbers are an increase of 118 cases from last week.
47 deaths have been confirmed in 25 states and the District of Columbia; whereas the vaping injuries have been reported in 49 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.